This will be the third time I have edited and posted this little essay. I feel the need to change it a little every year but this one is changed a bit more than usual. I am posting it before Thanksgiving this year and you'll have to read it to find out why:
A Jew for "Merry Christmas"
I am a Jew and I have to tell you, no one is going to discourage me from celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. No, I am not loosing my Jewish identity; on the contrary, I am very sure that it is stronger than ever.
I grew up in an observant Jewish home ( I am observant still) in which we greeted Christmas with a mixture of fascination, respect and a little irritation. At some point I became fond of expressing my ambivalence by quoting Jackie Mason, who once said:
“I don’t understand something about Christmas; maybe you can explain this to me? Why is it that this time of year you Christian people bring all of the trees inside the house and take all the lights and put them outside”
That line, for many years summed up the bemusement that I affected about the whole public Christmas celebration.
My feelings were mixed for a variety of reasons. My Dad had a retail store so the weeks leading up to Christmas were always a time of tension and brutally long hours of work. The traffic on the roads, crowds in the stores, and the saturation of television (especially in those pre- cable times) and radio airwaves with Christmas programs and music were overwhelming. I found the frenzy mentally punishing, the free-floating goodwill unsettling and the talk about Jesus (in whose divinity I was not supposed to believe) uncomfortable.
It left me very glad to have it over on December 26th.
And I was always just a little unsure of how to respond when some well meaning person would wish me a Merry Christmas. I was often caught between wanting to thank him noncomittaly, try to summon a convincing Merry Christmas in return or to say,” Thanks Very much but I don’t celebrate Christmas and then have to deal with the uncomfortable silence or explanations and apologies.
I am ashamed to admit it today but I was, at first, pleased when I saw, over the years, the ACLU and Multi-culti types pushing “Merry Christmas” out of the vocabulary of cultural discourse in favor of the more generic “Happy Holidays”.
I’ve grownup, though, and I’ve grown into a new perspective on this whole question and, today, when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I have a new response. It’s really simple-
I stop what I am doing
I don’t have any hesitation or second thoughts.
I wish them a great big “Merry Christmas” in return.
I would like to encourage all my fellow Jews to join me in this. Here’s why:
I have come to see quite clearly that even if there are politically correct, multi-cultural, morally relativistic, post modern progressive busybodies who would like us to believe that our Christian friends’ and Neighbors’ spontaneous Christmas wishes are somehow injurious to us and our culture, they are nothing of the kind. A sincere “Merry Christmas is more American and better for the republic and her people than the blandest, most guarded “Happy Holidays”
You see, the U.S. was founded by Christians. Not just any Christians. The early colonists were both devout and independent. They were fervent Protestants whose purpose in coming here was to leave the Kings, Priests, state religions and archaic laws of the Old World behind.
Even if some of them were supersessionists and dogmatic, they were also egalitarian and self-reliant. They came here to build a country where every man could read scripture for himself and be his own priest- where he could be free to elect political leadership that he could follow gladly. Ultimately, that experiment gave rise to the constitution and form of government we have today. At over two hundred years old, it is still the one in the entire world that best honors the individual and guarantees most rights to any individual who accepts the constitutional responsibilities of a citizen.
It was those fiercely independent Protestants who set the tone for the nation in which we now live. Their fierce spiritual presumption of the liberty of the human soul is, still today, the great central mast that lifts the canopy of democracy and holds it above us as a sanctuary from the despotism and effete decay that afflicts most of the rest of the world.
Crystallized in the constitution, the devotion of deeply religious people and spiritually awakened souls like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams are what have made it the highest standard of self rule and freedom in the history of the human race.
Among all their other unique achievements the fact that they decided that there could be no Official Religion in a country that aimed not just at physical or intellectual freedom shows that they understood that full human freedom means spiritual freedom too- Freedom of Religion.
To honor their genius fully we have to understand that Freedom of Religion must never be allowed to be a mandate for Freedom from Religion. As a Jew, I am exquisitely aware that freedom to practice my form of religion exists in this country because of those Christians and their vision of what a Christian country should stand for.
This uniquely Christian openness is why America has become the destination of choice for any one wishing to escape repression or lack of opportunity elsewhere in the world. That's why Jews have gravitated here for two hundred years. But we all (Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists) are in danger of forgetting how this all works and I think this whole “anti-Merry Christmas” thing is a symptom of that amnesia.
Fortunately, though, Jews do have a collective memory of stories if we just listen to them. My grandfather told me stories about life in turn-of-the(last)–century Eastern Europe so I have some idea of what he escaped by coming here. And its not just that he was not in Zhitomir, his Ukrainian home town, thirty years after he left for America, when the Waffen SS slaughtered thirty six thousand Jews there in one day! That is a gift indeed but it is in and of the past. No, it is the gift of equality and the opportunity to prosper that still lives on. It is that continuing gift that sustains the American dream and should call upon our constant love and loyalty.
The United States of America, as conceived by her Protestant founders, has been a miracle and a blessing to the entire human race. It has been especially important to the Jewish people.
We Jews are barely over one percent of the population here. We (a lot of us anyway) take pride in our contribution to America’s dynamism. We point with satisfaction to the fact that the founding fathers of this country were inspired and informed by our holy book which they called The Old Testament. Many of them read it in the original Hebrew, something few of us “modern” Jews can do.
But why do I need to explain this? Why don’t we all understand the centrality of the Protestant ethic to the goodness of America? Partly, it’s because of a lack in the educational program. But it’s also because our media, whose responsibility it should be to make us aware of the important ideas, events and issues has other agendas. Our “Mainstream” media is often found to be doing just the opposite.
In the media, America is assailed daily for her imperfections; and if not assailed, then damned by the faintest of praise. The media emphasizes the imperfections instead of the achievements- the discords not the harmony.
Historical revisionism has been used by the joyless progressives, secular humanists and multiculturalists to sap the joy and meaning out of Thanksgiving and the goodwill out of Christmas.
It has even come to pass that our President goes abroad and cannot seem to visit another country without some pathetic apology for America’s past- as if there is any country on earth whose history is so pristine that they are in a position to judge.
I am only one Jew- not a Rabbi and not a spokesman for a community organization, just a simple Jew. Nevertheless, I would like to call on all Jews, indeed, all Christians, Muslims and whoever else will standup with me and celebrate the blessing that The United States of America is to us and to the human family. Let us bow our heads together this Thanksgiving and resolve that instead of fretting about how saying “Merry Christmas” might make us an overly Christian country, we will thank our own, private God that we live in this country where “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Merry Christmas” mean what they mean here.
We need to loosen up and get a perspective on this “Merry Christmas” thing. It is not the people who say “Merry Christmas” and mean it that we need to be discouraging in America at this time. It is the people who find something wrong and suspect in the energy, enthusiasm and good-will that animates that “Merry Christmas” that we need to discourage.
We must side with our fellow Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom are warm-hearted friends with morals and ethics or we will have become unwitting dupes to heartless enemies with no moral compass who think they can rationalize almost anything and undermine our great civilization with reasonable sounding, non-judgmental sophistry. Do you need a moment to think about that?
By saying “Merry Christmas” in public we are not necessarily agreeing that Jesus was the son of God, we are just acknowledging that some very good people believe it. When we say it, that does not constitute accepting Jesus as our personal savior; it does show his followers that we see them as fellow countrymen, friends and brothers-in-arms in the defense of the highest ideals of our civil society and Judeo-Christian culture. What is the problem with that?
The first four words of this essay “I am a Jew”, are exactly the words that Daniel Pearl was forced to say on camera just before he was pinned down and his head was sawn off. I'd like you to try a little thought experiment simulating a better world here- Pretend that the next sentence that I write followed that first one and I had no need for the rest of the explanation in between...
"Have a Merry Christmas"
Note the the author: "those fiercely independent Protestants" who founded this country regarded Christmas as a PAGAN holiday and wouldn't be caught dead celebrating it.
Thanks for pointing that out peterl. Yes, the puritans were fundamentalists but the framers of the republic (150 years later) were deists and spiritualists with a very high degree of intellectual honesty to go with their strict principals of integrity.
I love this essay - I'm so glad you updated it and posted it again.
Would you mind if I linked to it on my Facebook page?
Thankyou for your valuable words.
I saw an ad on TV last night - Bob Dylan released a Christmas album!
Mrs RIght, Thaks for the kind words- I would be delighted if you would link!
Viking, Yes well ole Bob has been a variable hasn't he? I put about as much store in his Jewishness as I do in Madonna's. Still, it is not a bad thing.
As I celebrate Christmas this year I will be thinking about you, and hoping that you are enjoying your religious celebrations this season. Happy Hanukkah and ... Merry Christmas!!!
Because of people like you I believe this country will survive to give our children and grandchildren the blessing we have enjoyed!
I'm sure that celebrating the Birth of Christ does not mean you are "loosing" your Jewish identity in any way.
You can't lose what you never had.
But of course you're doing it for our fiercely independent founding fathers who didn't actually celebrate Christmas.
If you actually understood the meaning of America, in contrast to Europe, it is not about the holidays we celebrate, but the freedom to choose our own holidays. Perhaps you should spend less time taking your cues about what America is from Pat Robertson, instead of the actual Founders.
Congratulations Mr Solomon,
You have single handedly dispensed with the stereotype that all Jews are adept in reading comprehension and logic. Nowhere did I mention "celebrating the birth of Christ".
Yes we are free to choose our own holidays and I observe all of mine even as I pay respect to those of righteous people of goodwill around me.But then, given the tenor of your remarks, goodwill is something quite alien to you.
By the way, I have always been given to understand that tolerance, respect for others and reasonable, rational discourse are part of even the most insular and narrow-minded Jewish Identity.
You, sir, outside of the odd al Queda cell member and the stray Aryan Nation skinhead are exactly the kind of pusillanimous fool that poses the greatest threat to this republic. Your remarks are not welcome here on Breath of the Beast.
I am afraid that, as an Orthodox Jew, I could no more wish for a Happy Christmas than I could return a reply for a happy Moloch or Dagon Day.
Christmas = Celebrating the birth of Christ
Pretending that Christmas is anything but that is a multicultural attempt to water down Christmas. And I hope you aren't one of those multicultural liberals you keep writing so much about.
And of course for disagreeing with you, I'm just like Al Queda and the Neo-Nazis. My those liberal moral equivalence lessons are coming in handy for you.
God bless you as you celebrate your holidays, and know that I wish I knew your traditions as well as you know mine
I am sorry that you feel that way. I would suggest that you reconsider that comparisons you make. Comparing modern Christianity with the death cults and long-discarded superstitions of the past is, in my view, unfair and prejudicial. Jewish tradition, after all, has honored righteous gentiles since ancient times. Rather than judging your neighbors and fellow Westerners by labels and titles, better to judge and reward them by their deeds and the principals to which they devote themselves. You compromise nothing by wishing a righteous person the joy of his holiday and you exercise your ability to recognize righteousness wherever it exists.
I am not pretending anything. I clearly stated that I do not share the religious belief behind the Christian holiday and that wishing a "Merry Christmas" to someone who does, means only that I have the respect for another human being whose behavior and principles I respect. This is not multiculturalism and it is not moral equivalence.
I went through a long and reasonable, if impassioned, explanation of how the openness of America has made this country a refuge and a shelter for us. My grandparents never forgot that, my parents learned it from them and I have tried my best to pass it on.
From your first comment here you have been insulting and arrogant. It is that arrogance, the idea that YOU know what real Jewish Identity is and that I have no understanding of what "the meaning of America" is, is not just offensive, it is self-important and ignorant.
You give no intelligent argument, you offer only the patently fallacious syllogism:
"Christmas = Celebrating the birth of Christ
Pretending that Christmas is anything but that is a multicultural attempt to water down Christmas."
It is not your disagreement with me that makes you an enemy of the republic on the scale of al Queda operatives and Neo-Nazis, it is the corrosive effect of your irrational rage response and the unwarranted conceit that you understand these things when you clearly have no interest in understanding.
I told you before that your comments are not welcome here and any further comments will be deleted. This is my blog and you disgust me.
[sound of applause to crescendo]
I like the essay very much. I agree. I started my journalism career as a news reporter in the mainstream media. I hated all the stories about the Holiday Trees etc. When I shop around Christmas season, and someone says Happy Holidays, I feel nothing. It's empty. It's a phrase they were told to say. But when someone says Merry Christmas, I feel great. It's warm, it's genuine, and that person obviously isn't cowed by political correctness. I actually love hearing Merry Christmas, and I hope I have a Merry Christmas (well, Dec. 25), and I don't think there's anything wrong with that, even if I don't celebrate it.
Also, as an observant Jew (who didn't grow up at all observant or religious), I like seeing others practice their faith. I know how meaningful it can be to believe in God--any God--and how that can enrich a person's life. I agree with you, there is no reason to fear the celebration of Christmas. On the contrary, I think I actually like Christmas more than my Christian friends and co-workers! I get all the lights and cheer of the holiday but none of the family baggage!
So, great essay. I'm always happy to read about Jews who aren't afraid of Christianity. Keep it up, and have a Chanukah sameach (and merry Christmas!).
Great post! I can definitely relate to your sentiment.
Good For The Jews with special guests DeLeon and comedians Morgan Murphy, Seth Herzog, and Rachel Sklar is happening at the Highline Ballroom tonight! It’s going to be a great time, hope to see you there!
Tonight! (December 7, 2009)
Concert starts @ 8PM
Doors open @ 6PM
Discount code: GFTJ
The hilarious music duo Good For the Jews bring their national tour to New York for a night of unorthodox music and comedy on December 7, the minus-fifth night of Hanukkah.
GOOD FOR THE JEWS:
Jewish music for people who don't like Jewish music.
No songs about dreidels.
And no Israeli folk-dancing.
“Good For the Jews is a hilarious musical act. Don’t miss them.” National Public Radio
“Like Sarah Silverman and Jon Stewart, Good For the Jews is wickedly hilarious.” Village Voice
“Good For the Jews: a Jewish Flight of the Conchords.” Denver Westword
“Like Adam Sandler with a few additional IQ points.” The Onion
“Good For the Jews is part of the sharp new culture presented by such talents as Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Sarah Silverman.” Washington Post
DeLEON makes “Spanish-Jewish indie rock” by infusing 15th hcentury folk music with the entrancing cadences of the ancient Sephardic tradition. They have toured with Gogol Bordello and recently completed a 20-city tour with Brazilian legends Os Mutantes.
MORGAN MURPHY has been a writer for the TV shows Crank Yankers and Jimmy Kimmel Live. She has performed standup comedy on Premium Blend and Last Call with Carson Daly, and is currently writing for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
SETH HERZOG has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chappelle’s Show, and VH1’s Best Week Ever.
You are completely misguided. But what is worse, you are leading others astray. You are not observant, apparently, as it is forbidden to even say the name of a foreign deity, or for us to even say kratzmach. I would hope that Jews would educate themselves thoroughly before vomiting erroneous information like this.
Thanks for the stunning display of hypocrisy!
First you write a word you claim you are "not allowed" to say and then you accuse me of being non-observant.
If you are not allowed to say it then how much more of a shunda is it for you to write it as a monument to your angry attempt to humiliate a fellow Jew? I reject your attempt to judge me.
You appear to me to be a sad, angry, hyper-critical fundementalist who is happy to enjoy the largess of American Christians while you find nasty little ways to spot in their borscht.
Well, one thing you don't have to worry about- you didn't succeed in humiliating me- you were too busy with yourself.
BS"D I am not any hypocrite. Sometimes you have to use the questionable term to get it over. I don't use it in my everyday language, nor does my family. It doesn't mean we were born in a cave and never heard that trash before.
You just caved in to being surrounded by the goyim your whole life. You need to go and speak with a rav. It isn't just the word - it is indicative of you allowing yourself to be swallowed by the "beast" - and then to look for happy little warm-and-fuzzies about the founding father of America have shown you the light. Well, remember, there is no light without Torah, and this - at this time of year CHANNUKAH - the topic of light over darkness is of the essence. You should be focusing on light not on little green and red ones.
The comments on here continue to both enlighten and challenge me.
As an observant Christian, I have no problem wishing each and every one of you a blessed Hanukkah (although my phraseology may be clumsy).
Respecting the festivals of others in no way implies a weakening or compromising of one's own views, and indeed when it comes to religion it could be argued that this respect only strengthens them.
When a friend or neighbour says 'merry Christmas' to you this year, I hope that you can accept the wish in the spirit in which it is intended. Thankyou.
@Viking Since you are not Jewish and not familiar with what strict Torah Law means, I don't expect you to understand my statements to a Jewish person who even grew up in an observant home (or so he claims). It is not that I would, G-d forbid, wish you anything bad - I don't acknowledge the reference to the person you worship by speech or anything, and as we worship only one G-d (without additional representations or proxys), I can't with you a "Merry" of it, because it acknowledges it in the wrong way for us.
I know that sounded convoluted, but without going into a major Torah/Judaism lesson, or the history of your religion, it does sound convoluted.
Anyway, the bottom line is that for one thing, the Jewish people are supposed to be a separate people from the other nations. We aren't supposed to assimilate and blend in. This does not mean we are supposed to convert anyone, or force anyone, or anything like that But we are supposed to live according to the laws set down by the Torah (written and Oral) - for Jews.
So, you see, although I don't wish you bad..December 25th is a day for me - not a special day, not a holiday and not a holy day. I would wish you a good day - like on any other day. I would hope that you have a good life, and good health, on any and every day of the year - including December 25.
And now, I have some latkes to get off the stove before they burn.
To Viking: I hope you enjoy your holiday. To Sarah Leah and Yaacov Ben Moshe, I think you are hurling really mean and unfair accusations at each other. I think that the Jewish people have too many nasty accusations leveled against each other these days by people who do not wish us well. I think it is a desecration of G-d's name the way you attack each other, and I think it would be a sanctification of His name if the two of you could say something nice to each other. Chag Sameach to both of you.
I'm really sorry that this thread has taken such an ugly turn--it does not display the kind of thing that I think of when I think of people who seem to practice what is good about their religions.
The thought that came to mind .... I'm trying to figure out how to say what is on my mind without giving offense.....
If you think of the various religions that I know anything at all about as a vertical structure of some sort, reaching for the the heavens (maybe a group of towers with the objectives involved at Babel long ago).
One tower for Christianity (or maybe a cluster of towers...let's don't go there)
Another tower (or group, perhaps) for Islam.
Another group (as I understand the situation) for the Jews.
In my minds eye I see levels in the towers with a given level in each of the towers showing more homogeneity-within-level (across the space between the towers) than the towers show in the vertical (particularly in the groups-of-towers view).
At the highest levels there are people with their eyes on the prize, focused intently on that which is higher than they are. In this, they are more like people in adjacent towers at their lever than they are people at the lower levels of their own tower.
At the lowest levels are people with their eyes on the perceived enemies, on the procedures, on the minutia that holds them in their level and draws then down to the next lower. And it seems like there is always a "next lower".
And the lowest levels ARE populated in each vertical structure, none are immune.
And the saddest thing about this is that it is the lowest levels that label us. People look at me and measure me against the Westboro Baptists, I look at the recent rant (sarah leah) and so help me my first reaction was to an Islamic rant.
There are important differences and the differences need to be observed.
But we are an odd thing in the world, or were. We are not a theocracy. There is no proper place in the public life to discuss, much less enforce the differences.
We have to go with that which is common when moving between towers, and deal with the differences within our own towers.
Sarah Leah, if you don't want to wish me a "Merry Christmas", you don't have to.
If you want to wish me a joyous (or what ever is appropriate) Hannakkah (forgive, please, my spelling, I mean well) that is OK too.
But I deny you the right to keep me from saying "Merry Christmas" to you (as long as I am not saying it for some strange, hateful reason).
I claim the right to wish you a joyous Hannakkah, or the best sentiment for any other of your holidays (holy days) that I think of.
(This is a re-edit of a comment I made yesterday--I realized this morning that I had butchered the editing beyond usual ham......heavy handed fashion.)
Have a Merry Christmas, and a Joyous Hannakkah, and a Happy, Safe, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.
I appreciate your concern for the tone and tenor of these comments but for my part it cannot be helped. I share Larry’s perception that SL has come here with a rant that is, indeed, very similar to the ravings of Islamist fundamentalists and she had the poor judgment to direct than at me. Let’s review her first foray:
You are completely misguided. But what is worse, you are leading others astray. You are not observant, apparently, as it is forbidden to even say the name of a foreign deity, or for us to even say kratzmach. I would hope that Jews would educate themselves thoroughly before vomiting erroneous information like this.
The first sentence this woman has ever addressed to me in my life is that I am completely misguided, not a friendly beginning. The next is that I am corrupting others- something not to be taken lightly. The third is a pretty confused run-on job that, if I get it right, begins by impugning my authenticity as a Jew and ends by imposing her nonsensical notion that Jews may not talk about the names that other religions give to their conception of God. I admit that I may have gotten this wrong because the way she puts it (“foreign deity”), it could very well be understood that she does not believe in one God at all but that different people worship different Gods. That is the terrible trap of the religious simpleton, isn’t it? It is no accident SL used those words. She is convinced that her understanding and approach to God is the Only True One, thereby implicitly branding all other understandings and approaches as “false Gods”.
Why is it so hard for some people to admit that they are just as imperfect as the next person and that God is so much bigger than any of us that the minute we call someone else’s God foreign we set ourselves up as a false prophet? She was shocked that, in my first answering comment, I accused her of hypocrisy but what else is it? Then she winds up suggesting that I am insufficiently educated and likening my writing to vomit. This may be the most hurtful of all- I’m no E.B. White but I think I can put together the odd felicitous phrase here and there.
She ignores what I have written and makes no real counter argument- the true give-away that she is a fundementalist. She shows me a very personal sort of contempt and attempts to place all meaningful discussion out-of-bounds on the grounds that you can’t even say the name. Its all very garden-variety bigotry, actually, and I have a hard time suffering it.
That’s all bad enough but the real reason I get so angry with people like SL is that they have a sneering attitude of superiority even while they are slaves to doctrine and ritual. They are willing to sacrifice anything to maintain the impression that there is no flaw in their beliefs.
SL is even willing to insult other Jews and desecrate America in the process. In her second comment she told me that in writing this essay I was, “…allowing yourself to be swallowed by the "beast" - and then to look for happy little warm-and-fuzzies about the founding father of America.”
I want to take this occasion to remind SL that without America and the integrity and courage of her founders, the Holocaust might well have reached its completion. Israel would almost certainly not have survived and whatever Jewish life might still have existed around the world might well now resemble the persecution, misery and hopelessness that pertained for most of the last two thousand years. The snide reference to “for happy little warm-and-fuzzies” should be all anyone has to know about SL. Compare that to this last section from the letter written by the Touro Synagogue to George Washington:
“This so ample and extensive Federal Union whose basis is Philanthropy, Mutual confidence and Public Virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, doing whatever seemeth him good.
“For all these Blessings of civil and religious liberty which we enjoy under an equal benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of Days, the great preserver of Men — beseeching him, that the Angel who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised Land, may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life: — And, when, like Joshua full of days and full of honour, you are gathered to your Fathers, may you be admitted into the Heavenly Paradise to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality.
Done and Signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in NewPort, Rhode Island August 17th 1790.
Moses Seixas, Warden”
No supercilious sneer in those words. Jews back than knew first hand how important the freedom and security that the American enterprise promised was and they did not take it for granted. They knew there was no entitlement, just hard won liberty. They even allowed for the idea that the righteous of any faith should have a part in Paradise. I wonder if they would be told not to mention the name Jesus Christ there?
And what did Washington write in answer? Both of these documents can be found in their entirety here http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Letter_to_Touro_Synagogue but for convenience and to prove the point, here is his conclusion:
“May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Unless I miss my guess, “the Father of all Mercies” to whom President Washington referred here is the very same God that rules all worlds. The blessing he asks of that God is one in which I, as a Jew and as a human being, can and do fervently agree. The light to which he refers is the light of understanding, love and reason. I do believe that shunning the name(s) by which George Washington called the spiritual inspiration from which he drew this blessing is not just intentional ignorance but something much more injurious. It is a “darkness” in our path, a dead spot in the civil soul of this country. I wish George Washington and all other Christian Americans a very bright and unreserved “Merry Christmas”.
The lady has a way with words....
Merry Christmas, mate, an thanks for the posts you send. Always welcome. Looking forward to your work again in the coming year.
My best, Dag.
great essay Yaacov.
I must say I learn just as much from reading the comments and your responses Yaacov.
You are most gracious.
Sarah, a question. Why is saying the name of a deity forbidden? I you do not believe the deity is real there can never be any acknowledgement that said deity is a deity? (it was a rhetorical question. cheers).
Kind of circular isn't it. Maybe why I don't believe in any deity myself.
"The identification of dream and reality as a matter of principle has practical results which may appear strange but can hardly be considered surprising. The critical exploration of cause and effect in history is prohibited, and consequently the rational co-ordination of means and ends in politics is impossible. Gnostic societies and their leaders will recognize dangers to their existence when they develop, but such dangers will not be met by appropriate actions in the world of reality. They will rather be met by magic operations in the dream world, such as disapproval, moral condemnation, declarations of intentions, resolutions, appeals to the opinion of mankind, branding of enemies as aggressors, outlawing of war, propaganda for world peace and world government, etc. The intellectual and moral corruption which expresses itself in the aggregate of such magic operations may pervade a society with the weird, ghostly atmosphere of a lunatic asylum, as we experience it in our time in the Western crisis. "
The following is at least vaguely related to Malcom's pint above; but I like it so much that even if not relted, I post it here anyway in the hope you'll all like it too:
G.K. Chesterton [Eugenics and Other Evils, c. 1924] defines anarchy not as "no government" but as government that is insane, that has no beliefs. He writes that we can all break rules if we wish to do so exceptionally, and we can live normally with it. We can, on New Year's Eve, stay up too late. If we sleep till noon every day, that is anarchy.
"The State, like the house-holder, is sane if it can treat such exceptions as exceptions. Such desperate remedies may not even be right; but such remedies are endurable as long as they are admittedly desperate. Such cases, of course, are the communism of food in a besieged city; the official disavowal of an arrested spy; .... Of these exceptions, some are right and some are wrong; but all of them are right in so far as they are taken as exceptions. The modern world is insane, not so much because it admits the abnormal as because it cannot recover the normal."
I have lots to say on why that arises in the first place, but soon it's a whole nother year and a great time to begin it all over again. Hope to see you then.
Happy New Year, folks,
My best, Dag
Wish You a Very Happy Mary Christmas.
Thanks for wishing us.
Happy New Year, hope u had enjoy the whole occasion.
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